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End of Nungar Plains Hut Walk


At around 6pm last night the decision was made not to walk into Haynes Hut. With some off track walking and in freezing conditions I am pleased not to be going. All but one brave sole slept in the kitchen with a fire going most of the night.

The snow stopped around 9pm but there is still plenty on the ground in the morning.

Icicles have formed on the hut and the trees look beautiful with snow still weighing down the branches.

We keep glancing back for one last look until we are up and over the saddle. The gravel road out is free of snow so easy walking. One more rest before we rise up out of the valley and get hit by an icy cold wind only this time it is against us. We can’t even see the cars but at last we can hear the traffic going along the highway so we must be close.

One of the cars is well covered in snow but its not too long before it is sliding off and we are on our way for a hot drink and something to eat at Tumut.
What an amazing adventure we have had and much better to be here than out on Pretty Plain somewhere still getting through the snow with another day ahead of us – such a blessing in so many ways.

Gooandra Hut

Nungar Plains Hut Walk

I am extra careful in regards to organising my pack this morning as I do not want a repeat of the uncomfortable walk into Schofields. My tent fly is wet but I am able to shake off the heavy drops and put it inside my pack but making sure the waterproof bag is between it and my clothes.
We hike 6ks out along a good fire trail keeping to the centre as the tracks are very slippery. At one point we see how we could have just walked to this track from the Gavel Hut Trail which possibly would have been a shorter less demanding on us than the way we did go yesterday. Something to keep in mind for future trips. (Mind you I quite enjoyed the challenge of the cross country.)

As we walk little Scarlet Robins flit across the track enjoying the insects coming out after the rain, kangaroos bound through the bush and Eagles soar above us. It is such a pleasure to be out and about in the high country after a good rain bringing out the fresh fragrant scents of the eucalypts mixed with warm earthy odours of the damp soil and bush – just breathe.

Nungar Creek is now a substantial torrent with all the rain and there is no way to get across without getting our boots off. Whilst the drivers of the cars take off to pick us up we take our time which is just the way I like it. Stopping regularly to take in the beauty of the country but time is moving on, clouds are starting to darken and the wind is picking up. Its decision time.

We have decided to walk into Gooandra Hut with the possibility of walking into Haynes Hut tomorrow. I manage to get a quick check of the weather and laughingly comment that there is a chance of snow at Mount Selwyn. Not really taking it seriously though.

It is quite cool and so we drop into Sawyers Hut to have a bite to eat out of the weather.

Thankfully the track into Gooandra is easy and we seem to be there in no time – I’m sure the wind gave us an extra push. The creek isn’t running very well but we did manage to get a few litres before some really serious storm clouds begin filling the sky.

Its quite spectacular but we did not expect what happened next as soon swirling white snow begins to fall. The snow thickens and continues for almost 5 hours. The scenery changes before our eyes, much to our great delight. We are nice and cosy inside with a fire going although I can’t resist taking photos and I venture out over and over again to capture as much as I can. Happiness is playing in the snow! If we had of been able to do our other walk we would have been in a lot worse a situation and two days walking out.

Gooandra Hut is a good size with 2 bedrooms and a good sized kitchen. The girls all decided that the kitchen will be the best place to sleep with the fire helping to take the edge off the cold. The one bloke sleeps out but only to see if his gear is suitable for the K2 and by morning he has decided he needs a review – there really is no need to be cold, you just need the right gear.

Gavel Hut

Nungar Plains Hut Walk
Schofield Hut to Gavel Hut

I am a reluctant to leave my nice warm bed this morning but as I make my way out of my sleeping bed cocoon and I am well rewarded. There is a definite chill in the air and an incredible vibrantly beautiful brief flash of the sun rising causing the trees behind us to light up in brilliant colour. Another 2 minutes and I would have missed it completely. An ominous saying is recalled – red sky in the morning, a shepherds warning!

We leave the hut donned in our rain gear and head down a foot track towards the creek. As the foot track disappears we seek out a suitable crossing and carve our way through snow grass being careful not to roll an ankle before meeting up with the Gavel Hut Trail. Brumbies again suspiciously watch our progress and soon they are galloping across the plain with the stallion behind egging them on.
Our first sight of the hut is through some lovely coloured gums and I just love it from that moment. A gnarly old snow gum guards the front and compliments the rugged charm of the hut.
Inside there are some drawings on interesting canvases of old wood or tin, an old meat safe and other various bits and pieces are there to inspire us to ponder over times long gone.

As we boil the billy and gather our lunch goodies together the rain comes down, heavy and relentless. Our timing has been perfect.
Gavel Hut has some controversy on who and when it was built so either Dick Schofield and Roy Rawson built it in 1931 or James Gavel in 1922 backed up by Tom Taylor – a possible reason for the hair on the chinny, chin being nailed to the mantel at Schofields Hut.

The rain subsides to a miserable drizzle so we are rugged up once again as we head back to the track. Things do not go quite to plan on our return trip. A track can be clearly seen from across the plain on the far side of the creek so we decide to give it a go and try to find it.

Just like magic, when we get over the other side of the creek, it is gone and we are again traipsing over some tricky terrain. We are also strung out like a bunch of browns cows some on a determined path, others meandering and some falling behind – not a great plan. Thankfully, one way or another we all make it back. And again we just get to the hut, managing to collect water and the rain sets in and it is not joking around this time. There is no break in the clouds and things just get worse with thunder and lightening at times shaking the windows in the hut. The Gang Gangs that were happily squawking in the surrounding trees yesterday are noticeably absent as birds and animals take refuge somewhere in the bush. Hail is thrown forth from the heavens followed by more rain, stronger wind, more hail, more rain. I look out at my tent, which has the dry feel of a plastic garbage bag, and swear if all is dry inside I will write to Big Agnes and share my absolute gratitude in its incredible durability.
We stay up quite late until at last, although it is still raining, the weather abates enough for us to head to bed. Joy of joys my tent and all it contains is completely and wonderfully dry.

Brayshaw Hut

Nungar Plains Hut Walk
Day 3
Circuits Trail, Brayshaw Hut

Today starts with a serious fog giving a whole new look to the surrounds – it also makes it hard to pick what the weather will do.
Time to pack our packs and move to the next hut – Schofields. I have not been too careful with this very important job because, from memory, the hike over to Schofields is only 3ks and reasonably flat so an easy stroll really. Unfortunately my memory sucked on this occasion and with a badly packed pack not wanting to sit right, a track that has some decent ups and downs it was a huge relief to get to the turn off so I could drop my pack and save my back some pain. Lesson learnt – even if going a short distance always pack properly!
The sun is finding its way through and as we come around a corner on the track heading down we are greeting with a magnificent sweeping view of Nungar Plains. The plain is huge, no trees and just so wide and open – spectacular and, as looking up into space, can make you feel very small.

Across the plain we find the little Brayshaw hut bathed in sunshine. Whilst not as small as Love Nest it is cosy and a very neat little hut. Four of us enjoy lunch in the hut and two sit down by the creek. It’s also nice to see that some relatives take the time to hike out regularly to their ancestors lodgings.
Brayshaw’s Hut was reputedly built by Roy Brayshaw in the 1950’s but was possibly a hut moved from elsewhere.

Nungar Creek is roughly half way and a good place to take a break. Gentians are flowering everywhere – obviously a good spot protected from the elements and a cute little frog also makes an appearance.

Back to our packs at it is a short 1/2 a kilometre into Schofields Hut. Tonight I have decided to put up my tent despite the chance of showers tomorrow. The hut has a reputation for pouring out smoke into the main area so not a good place for sleeping.
Schofield’s Hut built in 1943 by Stan and Wally with a unique 16 pane window and a smokey chimney – which is still smokey!!!

Jadar Trail

Nungar Plains Hut Walk
20k walk with another 3 for the side track into Love Nest.
Day 2

There is a nice crisp feel to the air and a nice frosting on the ground to go with it for the start of our day on the Jadar Trail. The blue sky above promises us that things will warm up and off we go blissfully unencumbered of our back packs to begin the first section which just happens to be up.
Keeping an eye out for the look out across to Tantangara Dam I spot a tail wafting through the brush and to my surprise it turns out to be a Lyre Bird rushing across the track – wonderful and I didn’t even know they were around here.
We do find the look-out as well so spend a short break looking over the valley across to the dam while enjoying some well deserved snacks.

Onward we go until we start the long winding trail down and whilst not as steep as our mornings start it would be at least twice as long heading back down, down, down to the Murrumbidgee River.
Two of us decide to have a look at the hut known as Love Nest while the others walk to Pedens Hut to enjoy lunch. We surprise some grazing Brumbies and they quickly head into the trees while we get our boots off to cross the Murrumbidgee.
Its amazing to see this heart shaped rock before crossing to see the Love Nest Hut – if the rocks in the river it’s all clear for the rendezvous?
The hut is tiny and looks more like a stable but the story of a couple of love birds sneaking off from the nearby Carrango Station for secret romantic dalliances has made this cute little place an interesting side trip.
Pedens Hut is named after Arch Peden with his original place built in the 1890s.
We begin to walk a little way up again which gives us beautiful views of the valley with glimpses of the River cutting its long curvy pathway through.
To reach Townsend Hut its boots off again but as I have already seen this one I decide to stay put. It’s quite warm now and so two of us decide the river is just too tempting and hop in for a cool, albeit brief, refreshing dip.
It’s been a long day so the billy is soon put on to boil and time to put another plan in motion for tomorrow.

Nungar Plains Hut Walk


Day 1

Plans are made, details checked, meetings arranged, scenarios discussed but despite all these industrious efforts, not on my account I might add, a little problem of a road closure, yes, it was one of the details checked, which leaves us all packed up and no place to go. Maps are opened, scrutinised and a plan slowly emerges and just like that the Highland Huts Walk is off and the Nungar Plains Hut Walk is on. I am disappointed but as time will tell this change turned out to be a real blessing in disguise.

With maps checked again and one car planted along Tantangara Road, near the Nungar Creek Trail, the remaining two cars head down to the start of Circuits Trail.
It’s a short hike into Circuits hut but after a long day of traveling and plans to remake it is great to enjoy a cuppa and relax with the afternoon ahead of us.
Circuits Hut was primarily used for grazing built in 1938 by George Circuit. There is a story that Jimmy Gavel (associated with Gavel Hut) died in a snow drift near by this hut and for some reason his beard was cut off and nailed to the mantelpiece. Jimmy then, allegedly, haunted the occupants until the beard was removed and as it is not there now …….

North Brother Track

North Brother Track
Distance: 3km
Grade: 4

My son described this walk to us as a relentless up hill climb to the top – he did not sugar coat it and it is true.
The day is pleasant enough but the humidity does have an effect to the degree of difficulty.
As usual at the start of the walk we are all quite jovial but it is not long before the start of the steps and up we go. Not so much happy banter chatter now. Every now and then you can stop and enjoy a lovely cool breeze making its way through the sub-rainforest. The smell is of earthy forest floors mingled with eucalyptus and, when my pulse isn’t throbbing too loudly in my ears, the sounds of birds are everywhere.

The steps become a most hated thing as they continue winding upwards and some are quite deep with dirt being washed away from the base. I do explain to Shane that without the steps it would be a very difficult climb and on a wet day impossible so try to appreciate them. I do get the feeling that at anytime he is going to spit the dummy and stop but he pulls himself together.
We reach the sign that says you have now completed 880 steps but unfortunately we are not at the top yet.
More stairs but the track does level out so a little easier and only 800 metres to go.
We arrive just in time to see a hang glider taking off – almost a perfect day for it I would think.
The views are well worth it – as they usual are.

Going down – not so hard but it does make my legs tremble when we finally reach the end.
A nice swim at Pilot Beach, albeit a little cool, certainly helps with our recovery.